Under the Millionaire's Influence [Secure eReader]
Click on image to enlarge.
eBook by Catherine Mann
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Dashing. Devastating. Dangerous. David Reis exuded power with every move of his custom-suited body. He'd been the fantasy of Starr Cimino's teenage dreams--her first lover, her biggest heartbreak. And now that he was back, she didn't dare fall under his influence again. But David was not about to call a truce. He was determined to have Starr back in his bed and planned a seduction no woman could resist.
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Desire
Fictionwise Release Date: March 2007
9 Reader Ratings:
Starr Cimino vowed to invest in new pjs, even though her love life was currently on life support.
Facing her arch nemesis in a threadbare Beachcombers Restaurant T-shirt before she'd even had her morning coffee just sucked. So much for armor to gird her five-foot stature.
Her steely spine and some wit would have to suffice. She braced her back and stood down the strong and vital force filling the door of her seaside carriage house in Charleston, South Carolina.
She didn't doubt her ability to deck anyone who threatened her. She'd learned young to take control of her life after all her crook parents had forced her to endure. But it just wasn't cool to take out a seventy-eight-year-old lady in a housedress. The mother of the man to whom she'd given her heart and virginity.
At least she could reclaim her heart.
Swiping the sandy sleep from her eyes, Starr forced a smile taught to her by her foster mother, "Aunt" Libby. "What can I do for you, Mrs. Hamilton-Reis?"
Other than toss some blue food coloring into her fish pond so the old bat's prize guppies would look more like a certain current cartoon fish. Okay, so Aunt Libby's training hadn't totally saturated Starr's conscience as a teen.
Grudges. Man they hurt the soul and she really should get over it, but this lady had treated her worse than the scum on her fish pond for right around seventeen years.
And God forbid Starr should date the woman's precious heir.
So Starr and David had met behind sand dunes and shimmied up the rose terrace to climb into his bedroom window during their teenage romance that had swelled and broken her heart in one tumultuous year.
"What do I want?" Alice Hamilton-Reis's voice rose and fell along with the rush of the waves along the shore. "I want your relatives to move their RVs out of my neighbor's view."
Her family? Here?
Prickles spread over her as she looked around and found that, yes, there were three RVs parked right on the grass between the Hamilton-Reis's historical plantation house and Starr's carriage house. The same RVs she'd ridden in before luck and an efficient social worker had intervened.
She shoved her hands through her snarled mess of hair, as if that might somehow restore order to her rapidly tangling world. No luck. In fact…the worst luck sauntered into view with broad shoulders and serious temptation.
David. Her attention skipped off those RVs pronto.
He took the lengthy porch steps of his family's Southern antebellum mansion with the same confident strides he'd possessed even as a lanky teenager who'd sent her pulse skyrocketing. David made clothes look good, no question. He wore formal dark pants with loose hipped ease, a crisp white shirt contrasting against his jet-black hair and a tan that attested to time spent in the sun.
Her heart rate still doubled, but for another reason. Yes. Because of their history and how he'd so deeply bruised her tender feelings over ten years ago with his all-or-nothing ultimatums. He wanted her to give over her hard won control of her life, and heaven help her, he'd once truly tempted her. And when she'd seen him again a year ago, her willpower had been in the negative numbers. They'd landed in bed together in seconds flat. Then they'd found their clothes again, he'd stuck to his same, unflinching party line—pick up and follow him around the world, leave behind the only home she'd ever known. His way.
Not a chance.
She didn't want to think overlong on the fact that she hadn't been with anyone since then—thus her crummy lingerie and love life gasping for breath. She would hold strong this time, regardless of her body already tingling to life again.
Lord knew she had enough to think about dealing with her biological parents showing up—don't look, don't look, don't look at those RVs yet—and David's perfect-lineage mama staring her down.
David stopped on the bottom step and yet still he stood around the same height as the women on the porch, darn him. "Mother, you shouldn't be outside in the morning damp air." A hand towel draped around his neck attested his recent shave, yet he still looked totally calm and collected even though he'd obviously rushed out after his mother. "Your doctor said for you to keep your feet up until the new blood pressure medicine takes effect."
Great. She had to be nice to the old bat or she ran the risk of David's mother stroking out on the carriage house stairs.
Aunt Libby's voice echoed through her head. Manners. Manners.
Jeez. She searched for something to say. Seagulls and cranes swooped for breakfast along the shore. Distant church bells from downtown Charleston chimed seven.
Starr tugged at the T-shirt and pretended she wore her favorite form-fitting jean dress and wedge heels with ties that wrapped around her ankles. She was good at the princess pretense. She'd perfected it as a gypsy child on the road. She refused to let herself be ashamed for things they had done—the things they'd insisted she do. She reminded herself she was a businesswoman now. She and her two foster sisters had turned Aunt Libby's mansion into Beachcombers—an up-and-coming restaurant.
She sidestepped cranky Alice and faced her old lover who looked too darn good for this early in the morning, his dark hair glistening with water from a recent shower. Saints save her from her vivid imagination. "Hello, David, your mother and I were just discussing a better parking place for my, uh…" She couldn't bring herself to use the word family.
Copyright © 2007 by Catherine Mann.